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     TOWNS OF METRO BOSTON

Allston borders the Charles River and Cambridge, Massachusetts to the north and is split by the Massachusetts Turnpike in the middle. The area north of the turnpike near the river is often referred to as "Lower Allston" or "North Allston". A substantial part of the campus of Harvard University is in Lower Allston, including Harvard Business School and Harvard Stadium.  The busiest section of the neighborhood is the stretch of Harvard Avenue between Commonwealth Avenue and Cambridge Street, which houses many shops, bars and restaurants.

Allston is a diverse neighborhood in the city of Boston, with a population which includes Boston natives, students from neighboring Boston University, Boston College, MIT and Harvard and various ethnic groups such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Brazilian, and Irish.  Over half the population is in the 20-34 age group, an indication of the strong student presence.  Named for an artist, Washington Allston,  the prevalence of musicians and music venues has given rise to the nicknames "Allston Rock City" and "Rock and Roll Allston."

An adjoining neighborhood is named Brighton but the boundaries between the two are fuzzy at best, which explains why the two neighborhoods are together known as Allston-Brighton.

Back Bay is an officially recognized neighborhood of Boston.  Impossible under modern day environmental regulations, this land was created by filling the tidewater flats of the Charles River. This massive project was begun in 1857. The filling of the Back Bay was completed by 1882; filling reached Kenmore Square in 1890, and finished in the Fens in 1900. The boundaries of the Back Bay are the Charles River on the North; Arlington Street to Park Square on the East; Columbus Avenue to the New York New Haven and Hartford right-of-way (South of Stuart Street and Copley Place), Huntington Avenue, Dalton Street, and the Mass. Turnpike on the South; and Charlesgate East on the West.

The main thoroughfares of Back Bay run east and west and include Beacon Street, Marlborough Street, Commonwealth Avenue, Newbury Street, and Boylston Street.  Commonwealth Avenue is a 200-wide expanse with a wide median strip, laid out in imitation of the French boulevards in Paris.  The north-south cross streets are named alphabetically, Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, and Hereford.

Copley Square, bounded by Clarendon, Boylston, Dartmouth, and St. James streets, includes the Romanesque Trinity Church, the 60-story John Hancock Tower, and the Boston Public Library. 

The Copley Square area is close to the Back Bay (MBTA station) railroad terminal, and is the eastern nexus of a system of hotels and shopping centers connected by a set of glassed-in pedestrian overpasses.

Brighton is a western appendage of Boston, connected to the rest of the city by the Allston neighborhood and is surrounded on by the cities of Cambridge, Watertown, and Newton, and the town of Brookline. Allston-Brighton is often considered collectively as one neighborhood. 

Established in the late 17th century Brighton was known as "Little Cambridge".  In 1807 it separated from Cambridge and was named Brighton. In 1874 the town was officially annexed into the City of Boston.  The Charles River separates Brighton from Cambridge and Watertown.

The neighborhood, which is primarily populated by graduate students, young professionals and families, consists of an intricate network of streets lined with houses and small apartment buildings.  Local family businesses mix with national chains of pharmacies and banks along Brighton's main drag, Washington Street, which runs straight through Brighton Center to Oak Square.

Brazilians, Irish, Greeks, and Latinos are among the most prominent ethnic group of the neighborhood. This can be observed by the abundance of Latin/Brazilian shops along Cambridge St. and Brighton Ave along with the great number of Irish pubs and convient stores. Similar to Brookline, its neighbor to the south, Brighton is home to a significant Jewish community.

Major streets in Brighton include Commonwealth Avenue, Washington Street and Market Street. The B line of the Boston MBTA subway Green Line runs directly through the neighborhood along Commonwealth, and the C line of the Green Line ends at Cleveland Circle after passing through Brookline.

Charlestown began as an independent community, founded by English colonists before they established Boston across the harbor on the Shawmut Peninsula.  Severely damaged by fire following the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, (actually Breed’s Hill) the once thriving colonial town was rebuilt after the Revolution and became the center of transportation and maritime industry in the 19th century.  In the early decades of the 19th century, a group of prominent local citizens decided to erect a 220 foot granite monument to the battle. Annexed to Boston in 1874, Charlestown today is noted for its exceptionally rich collection of historic houses and industrial buildings.

 Today, this waterside district's most famous resident is the "USS Constitution" (also known as "Old Ironsides"). Docked at the Charlestown Naval Yard, the ship, which is the nation's oldest commissioned warship, attracts a large number of tourists annually. After catching the local sights, visitors often stop in at one of the many restaurants and pubs that line the neighborhood's narrow streets.

Located on Boston's Historic Freedom Trail, both the ship and the USS Constitution Museum bring to life the stories of the individuals who authorized, built, served on and preserved the USS Constitution.   Just a few steps away, the visitors' center offers information on nearby historical sites and provides guided tours. The Harbor Walk in the Boston National Historic Park has benches for resting, grassy areas, and a series of interpretive signs.

East Boston is a blue-collar neighborhood that is separated from the rest of the city of Boston by Boston Harbor and bordered by Winthrop, Revere, and the Chelsea.  Landfill was used to connect Noodle, Hog, Governor’s, Bird, and Apple islands.

Today, East Boston is primarily known for Logan Airport owned and operated by the Mass Port Authority (MassPort).

Though East Boston has a spectacular view of the downtown skyline, the community's rents and property values have increased more slowly than the extraordinary growth seen in the rest of the metro-Boston region.  This slower growth can largely be attributed to the isolated nature of the neighborhood and the local difficulties of real estate development.

Since the mid-19th century, the community has served as a foothold for immigrants to America: Irish and Canadians came first, followed by Russian Jews and Italians, then came Southeast Asians, and, most recently, large numbers of Central and South Americans.


Hyde Park is the southernmost neighborhood of Boston and was the last town to be annexed to Boston in 1912.  Surrounded by West Roxbury, Roslindale, Mattapan, Dedham, and Milton, it is just a 15-minute commute by rail or car to downtown Boston and only a 10-minute ride from Routes 128 and 95.

Home to a diverse range of people and housing types, Hyde Park is predominately suburban, yet provides easy access to downtown Boston.  But while absorbed into Boston, Hyde Park still maintains a sense of its own independence and identity.  Hyde Park falls into the category of a city community that looks and feels like a small town, which, in this age of resurgent interest in city living, is a valuable quality.

Hyde Park is broken up into several smaller communities such as Fairmount, Readville, Sunnyside, and Stonybrook. Neat yards, tree-lined streets, and solid, lovely homes are typical of these neighborhoods. Single and multi-family homes can be found throughout the area. Most are in good condition and moderately priced.

This area also has thousands of acres of open space, large ponds, recreation facilities, and playgrounds.  The Stonybrook Reservation has bicycling and jogging paths, cross country skiing, and plenty of parking. Other recreational facilities in Hyde Park include the George Wright Public Golf Course, public tennis courts, and a concert shell near Truman Parkway.

Cleary Square and commercial establishments along Truman Parkway provide a good variety of shopping as well as free parking.  Many former residents who moved to the suburbs are coming back, attracted by Hyde Park's proximity to Boston and moderate housing prices.


Mattapan was annexed to Boston in 1870 as part of Dorchester. Like other neighborhoods of the time, Mattapan developed as the railroads and streetcars made downtown Boston accessible. Predominately residential, Mattapan is home to a mix of single homes as well as two and three family houses. Mattapan Square, where Blue Hill Avenue, River Street, and Cummins Highway meet, is the commercial heart of the neighborhood, home to banks, law offices, restaurants, and retail shops.

Mattapan also has a significant amount of open space, including Franklin Park, the Franklin Park Zoo, and the historic Forest Hills Cemetery.

Today as a large number Haitian immigrants move in, Mattapan now has the largest Haitian community in Massachusetts.

Midtown has only recently come to be regarded as a neighborhood. For years, it was regarded as a mere appendage to Back Bay or Beacon Hill.  Originally Midtown was really only two buildings, Tremont on the Common and the Parkside, across from the Commons.  In the past it was far too close for comfort to the Combat Zone "adult entertainment" district

Now, however, the Combat Zone is gone, chased by the city. And the construction of the Ritz Towers has attracted a more upscale buyer to the area, making possible the new Grandview, a midrise luxury building. There will be additional units released by the developer at the Ritz this summer. The Metropolitan is just about sold out.

The original two residential buildings in the area have experienced a renaissance as well, with many units there being renovated.  In addition, One Charles, a 230 unit luxury full service building has been completed as well.


Mission Hill – Once filled with farms and breweries, the Mission Hill district of Boston is now an architectural landmark district.  Residents live in a combination of free standing houses built by early wealthy land owners, or in blocks of traditional brick houses.  Mission Hill also has many tripple-deckers as well.  A diverse community in close proximity to downtown Boston, Mission Hill offers residents an excellent view of the city from a historic neighborhood.


North End is considered one of the safest neighborhoods in Boston.  There is never a dull moment in the North End, a neighborhood where residents freely walk the streets shopping in fruit stores, butcher shops, and local grocery stores. Famous for its Italian restaurants and strong Italian roots, residents throughout the summer can attend a different Italian Festival most every weekend.  The streets are narrow and compact, and there is history here as well.  Old North Church, Paul Revere’s house, and other landmarks are seemingly around every corner.   For decades, the Central Artery separated the North End from the rest of the city visually; now that the elevated highway has been torn down the difference is stunning.


Roslindale is a neighborhood bordered by Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. It was not until1870 that Roslindale, until then a section of West Roxbury, known as “South Street District”, and then “South Street Crossing”, became a postal district of its own.

The community of Roslindale, named for its lovely hills and dales, has felt the squeeze of urban living. Open space is disappearing as the population becomes more crowded. However, Roslindale is a mature community with an awakening consciousness of its identity. Recognizing the problems and challenge of urbanization, Roslindale maintains the friendliness and spirit of a “garden suburb”.

The people of Roslindale love their community. There is a feeling of kinship for one another in the air, and they show a great deal of concern for their town.

Roslindale is served by two stops on the MBTA Needham Heights commuter rail line, as well as many bus lines which pass through Roslindale Square, where Washington Street meets Cummins Highway and Belgrade Avenue.

Roxbury is a neighborhood within Boston.  The original town of Roxbury included the current neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, and much of Back Bay.

It was one of the first towns founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 and became a city in 1848. The City of Roxbury was annexed to Boston in 1868.  It was originally called "Rocksbury" because of its hilly geography and the many large outcroppings of Roxbury puddingstone, a rock formation composed of small stones that were surrounded by lava from ancient volcanoes.

The early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established a series of seven villages in 1630. Roxbury was located about three miles south of Boston, which at the time was a peninsula, and was connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, "Roxbury Neck". This led to Roxbury becoming an important town as all land traffic to Boston had to pass through it.

The settlers of Roxbury originally comprised the congregation of the First Church Roxbury, est. 1630. The congregation had no time to raise a meeting house the first winter and so met with the neighboring congregation in Dorchester.  The first meeting house was built in 1632, and the Roxbury congregation, still in existence as a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, lays claim with 5 other local congregations, (Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown and Dorchester) to the founding of Harvard.

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, Roxbury has long thrived on its proximity to downtown while retaining its neighborhood qualities. Home to a great number of parks, schools and churches, a visitor can see Boston’s history in the architecture and landmarks of the neighborhood. At the same time, Roxbury is a thriving community with a multitude of housing options and a variety of ethnic shops.  The Shirley-Eustis House, located in Roxbury remains as one of only four remaining Royal Colonial Governor's mansions in the United States. 

 South Boston residents love their neighborhood.  Located south of the Fort Point Channel and abutting Dorchester Bay This community called “Southie” boasts miles of beaches and waterfront parks that culminate in Castle Island where visitors can enjoy the Revolutionary War fort, get a bite to eat, play in the playground, fish off the pier, or simply take a stroll.

Formerly known as Dorchester Neck, South Boston is a traditionally Irish-American neighborhood, and also has a large number of residents of Lithuanian, Polish and Italian descent.  "Southie" is home to the first memorial for Vietnam Veterans in the United States. It was dedicated on September 13, 1981 and is located at Independence Square, which is more commonly called "M Street Park."  South Boston is densely populated and is know for tripple deckers, row houses, and single family homes.  It is also home to a great variety of pubs and restuaurants.